5.1. Employee Well-being and Development
Attracting and retaining talented people is achieved by providing a friendly and safe working environment, where a positive attitude is key to the well-being of our employees. We emphasise personal development as a daily practice and focus on this in our half-yearly appraisals.
Explaining the impact
Employee Well-being and Development
Employees play a vital role in the success of our business. Providing a friendly and safe working environment to attract and retain talented people to our team is key to increasing productivity and the long-term success of the company.
Employees' personal development and job satisfaction contribute to a better quality of life, as they can grow within the organisation and as members of their communities.
Employee well-being can contribute to how employees manage the responsible use of internal resources. The human factor and related risks can often contribute to an undesirable negative environmental impact through inadequate management of internal processes such as energy consumption, waste management or subcontractor management.
Managing the impact
We believe that it is the people in our teams who keep our company agile, which is why we continuously invest in their education and development, driving their continuous evolution. We are aware that the company’s performance would not be possible without the work of a united team, made up of people who embrace the Autonom vision, guided by solid values, committed to our customers and the communities they are part of. Their activities have an impact on the environment, society and even the economy, contributing to the company’s image. That’s why we want to attract people who are Autonom and capable of performing, while maintaining equal opportunities for all, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, gender, membership of vulnerable groups or other issues.
At Autonom we promote a friendly and cooperative work environment where our employees feel respected and valued. Our organisational and operating model is based on small teams, autonomy, flexibility, transparent communication and decentralised decision making and this allows us to act and implement solutions quickly. To this end, we develop programmes for employees’ professional and personal development, career and leadership plans and update our benefits list annually.
We aim to maintain a balance between opportunities and risk mitigation for both the business and employees, and therefore our approach aims to provide ongoing education and training programmes for personal and professional development, respect for diversity and equal opportunity issues, employee satisfaction and loyalty through benefits, fair remuneration policies and ensuring an environment that respects health and safety conditions in the workplace.
Our team is growing year on year. Thus, compared to 370 employees with active contracts on 31 December 2021, at the end of 2022 the Autonom team consisted of 474 employees, of which 32.7% were women, and the average age was 31.37 years. Administratively, employees are grouped as active staff in Territorial Agencies and Headquarters/Region (Bucharest and Piatra Neamt).
Most employees are involved in operational activity at the local agency level (66.03%), while the rest (33.97%) are staff of the departments located in the two headquarters in Bucharest and Piatra Neamt.
Of the total number of full-time employees, 10 persons are engaged in different operational activities in Autonom, but have signed employment contracts with another entity, they are transferred for various activities to Autonom for a contractual period of 2 years.
During 2022, we had 2 colleagues employed for a fixed period but who were no longer active at the end of the year.
Collective bargaining and employee representation
We support diversity and equal opportunities, and all employees benefit from working conditions appropriate to the work they do. Through our policy, we ensure that there is no discrimination in recruitment, hiring and promotion based on gender, marital status, sexual identity, religion, political options, ethnicity, race, nationality, genetic characteristics, age, etc. The company’s internal rules include, among other things, rules on compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and the elimination of any form of violation of dignity.
The collective agreement regulates issues such as the rights and obligations of employees and the employer, and includes, among other things, the notice period, provisions for consultation and bargaining, while respecting the important principle of equal pay for equal work. The policies we have developed in this respect consider human rights, diversity and equal treatment issues, based on the UN Bill of Rights and the International Labour Organisation conventions to which the UN Global Compact principles have recently been added.
Thus, no incidents of discrimination were recorded in 2022. We intend to intervene if any principle is not respected and to take appropriate action in any concern expressed from this category.
After drafting the documents, in the event of a possible termination, the duration of the notice period until the termination of the contract is in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code and, implicitly, those of the Collective Labour Agreement, i.e. 20 working days for executive positions and 45 working days for managerial positions.
Autonom employees are not organised in a union but have 4 employee representatives.
Less than 1 year
Between 1 and 3 years
Between 3 and 5 years
Between 5 and 7 years
Older than 7 years
Over the last four years, staff turnover has been relatively constant, in the context of staff volatility in the market, but we are constantly concerned and attentive to the variables, reasons and factors influencing it. The highest rate of turnover, cumulatively, is at the agency level, in the male, under 30 category, mostly in “entry level” customer service agent positions.
Employees who left
Over 50 years
The staff retention rate, calculated according to the formula below, has increased over the last 3 years from 56.33% in 2020 to 68.35% in 2022.
Departures from the organisation at the 2022 level have been amicable and colleagues who end up in this situation are asked to go through an exit interview and provide us with feedback including on their interaction with colleagues, reasons for leaving, what they could further apply from what we have learned together and what they think should be changed or improved in Autonom. Colleagues’ responses are collated and analysed monthly by the management team to integrate the feedback received into future work.
Staff retention rate =(no. employees at the end of the year – employees leaving) / no. employees at the end of the year * 100
Retention rate %
Training and professional development
The company pays a lot of attention to the education of its employees and, to this end, we build a learning experience as personalized as possible, through training, coaching, courses and support from company leaders. All employees are people with completed or in the process of completing a university degree.
The planning process for organising training programmes includes both aspects such as legislative requirements related to certification and periodic authorisation for our field of activity, activity-specific qualifications, first aid courses or specialisation and refresher courses in specific areas (GDPR, SSM, sustainability, damage assessment agents etc.), as well as development programmes derived from the organisation’s strategy and aligned with the organisational culture, which aim to strengthen employees’ leadership skills and increase their involvement.
There is no human resources department in the Autonom group. Managers devote 30% of their time to employee development and HR activities.
Effectiveness of actions taken
Hierarchical level in 2022
Number of courses
Number of hours
Number of people
Middle Management, Departments
Middle Management, Agencies
Other functions, Departments
Other functions, Agencies
619total number of employees, including those who were no longer active until the end of 2022
Number of employees
Number of training hours
Number of courses
Average number of hours/employees
During 2022, employee training was mainly conducted through online
Evaluation of the quality of the training and the satisfaction of those who participate in the training programmes is carried out after each training session. The aspects we consider are both the quality of the course content and material and the trainer’s training and availability.
Examples of external course / programme 2022
No. of course hours
BISM (Bucharest International School of
TREND (Leadership Journey and Management Journey)
Individual coaching courses
Case Study Competition 2022 – This is a two-day academic competition in which teams of up to 6 participants receive a case study. On the second day each presents their own solution proposal and the winner goes on to the next stage in another country. During the competition, no one has access to the internet or telephone and discussions and presentations are in English only. The six colleagues who took part confirm that it is a challenging phase but also an unparalleled learning experience.
BISM (Bucharest International School of Management) offers the condensed MBA experience in a specially developed version, the Fast Track MBA. The programme lasts 21 days over 4 months and is built on the interaction and added value brought by the lecturer meeting other participants, seniors, managers and entrepreneurs from different industries. It is a mix of theory and practical exercises that provides the necessary information for a manager adapted to modern requirements. In 2022, 5 colleagues attended this programme.
TREND Leadership Journey (TLJ), Management Journey (TMJ). TLJ and TMJ are longer-term training programmes of six months, where the learning process starts from personal interest and contains a part of interaction with other participants, inside or outside the organisation, to expose people to a wider environment. It consists of several modules, with aspects of consultancy and experiential learning methods aimed at provoking powerful discoveries on a personal level. The TLJ was attended by 3 colleagues who have more than one person in their team, and the TMJ was extended to those who have only one person in their team, with 8 colleagues completing the module.
SustainAbility School: is a sustainable management education program, dedicated exclusively to employees of member organizations of the Sustainability Embassy in Romania, through the Sustainable Romania Coalition program. Each week, during online meetings with a specialist, a theme from the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is addressed. The objective is to facilitate the transfer of know-how on sustainability issues between members of the Sustainable Romania Coalition and Romanian and foreign specialists from the private, public and non-profit sectors. In 2022, the participation of colleagues was by personal registration and since 2023, this program has been included in the weekly training schedule, as an external course.
Internal programme/initiatives: How do we ensure that we are evolving every day?
In addition to external training on various topics and development programs that give participants the opportunity to progress gradually, Autonom employees have the opportunity to participate in internal programs. Internal development can lead to advancement to new hierarchical positions, which brings new challenges but also rewards.
In-house trainings, supported by employees. Starting from the premise that we learn best by teaching, anyone can hold courses in the company, on a chosen topic of interest. Our in-house programmes include language courses, specific courses for defined departmental needs, project management, and preventive leadership courses as most of our colleagues, drive.
Examples of courses/projects offered internally by employees/hours 2022
Points of you
Because the topic of sustainability plays an important role in our company’s education and training programs, we have included insights on general and specific sustainability topics in specially developed programs. “Internal training on sustainability topics” is a pilot project supported monthly since March 2022, through which the Sustainability department creates the right context for learning about sustainability. Participation is free for all colleagues, regardless of position in the company, scheduled in the calendar, supported via the zoom platform and colleagues who do not participate live can watch the recordings. The topics discussed were related to themes such as Autonom’s sustainability strategy and objectives, food waste, selective collection, the “Plastic free July” initiative, adopting responsible habits, etc. Occasionally, we enjoyed the presence of guests from different specific organizations, such as EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), represented by Răzvan Dumitrescu, Raluca Nan and Raluca Badau), Sustainability Embassy in Romania, represented by Oana Groșanu, Executive Director and Teodora Ghenciu (eEco).
Autonom recommends reading as part of daily pursuits and personal and professional training and all colleagues are encouraged to read at least one book a month, with general topics including business, psychology, or personal development books and every colleague has the opportunity to recommend a favourite title on their business cards. The number of books read by our colleagues is increasing every year and we consider this as a confirmation of the sustainable development of the company. On the company’s website there is a list of recommended books and occasionally we offer to our customers, including as a Christmas present, a selection of new books, which we choose to publish together with Publica publishing house. This is another way in which we contribute to promoting reading and the everyday development of our colleagues,partners and everyone around us.
Other examples of internal initiatives:
Innovation of the month, a project where employees can express their ideas that have a direct impact on the evolution of the company. Every month we collect, select and implement innovation proposals received from colleagues. In 2022 we had a total of 1,529 innovations proposed by our colleagues.
Monthly Team Meetings have a mandatory component of learning and interaction between employees to strengthen the team and share best practices. Through these, we ensure the perpetuation of the defining elements of the Autonom culture and related management principles: discussions about centralizing numbers for good applied financial education, icebreakers for better team bonding, discussions about monthly books and innovations to maximize their impact and usefulness, the recommended learning element of each such meeting whereby anyone can teach anyone anything, even if it is not directly related to the business side.
The daily book recommendation is another internal initiative to encourage reading and sharing of ideas discovered in books. Each day, one colleague hands over the baton to another nominated colleague to pass on ideas from a book that impressed him/her. In 2022, 246 books were recommended by our colleagues.
Project ED, derived from the motto Evolve Daily, is another succinct, daily learning opportunity delivered in the form of an internal newsletter. This initiative started 3 years ago, and each nominated team can choose a weekly theme from a predefined list (Organisational Culture, Team Building and Leadership, Wellbeing, Communication and Customer Care, Time Management, Organisation and Habits, Financial Intelligence) or propose a customised theme. Colleagues’ contribution to the “growth” of this project is to write about an idea they have recently discovered in a book they have read / in a course, or which has arisen because of a revealing moment in their personal experience. To enhance interdepartmental interaction, each team involved can nominate another team. In 2022, 233 episodes were submitted, with an average open rate of 52.20%. At the same time, because of three years of project continuity thanks to the colleagues involved, in November 2022, the most active colleagues with the most episodes written enjoyed their first bootcamp. The bootcamp was both an occasion for joy and reunion of colleagues from multiple teams and an opportunity for introspection and learning through the activities and external guests.
OMul din spatele AutonOMului (The man behind AutonOM) is a series of interviews with our colleagues, with the aim of getting to know each other and learning from each other’s personal experiences.
#PortretedeAlergător (Portrait of a runner) an internal communication project through which we find out the stories of our colleagues who never miss an opportunity to participate in the sporting events we support, under the slogan: ‘Running for education.’
#LearningTipofTheWeek a weekly newsletter we send to our customers and subscribers in our communities. It contains learning pills about leadership, values, organisational culture, best practice examples, fresh air for the mind from remarkable people, valuable ideas from books, and information on how we can talk about #sustainabilitywithresponsibility, for the #evolution of the people.
Performance evaluation is carried out for all Autonom employees, regardless of position, with the direct manager and the system is laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement. The evaluation is based on performance and development objectives, with operational objectives, personal development objectives and social involvement objectives. The evaluation process takes place every 6 months and is transparent (it provides clear and precise rules on evaluation and grades are given), objective and fair. From 2023 onwards, we want the retrospective part of the evaluation sheet to be automated as an export from the internal HITS monitoring system.
Based on the results of the assessment, as well as the conclusions of the development dialogue, development needs are identified and then included in a personalised Training Plan.
The assessment also contributes to the implementation of the succession plan, which identifies employees who want to take over managerial or specialist positions in key positions. Specific training and development programmes are implemented to develop the professional and personal skills specific to a position.
Our recruitment and selection policy for vacancies or new positions, as well as the succession plan for certain categories of key positions, provide that the first category of recruitment sources is internal if the professional profile corresponds to the requirements of the vacancy. Our benefits extend to the opportunity for professional growth.
We have developed an onboarding programme, tailored to each business area, which includes role-specific training, settling into the wider Autonom team, understanding the organisational culture, existing policies and working procedures, as well as ongoing support during the settling-in period through the assignment of a dedicated colleague. We are constantly looking to improve the induction and settling in process for new colleagues, as a result, each new employee has weekly discussions with their line manager and get to know discussions with members of the teams they will be working with and beyond.
In addition, as soon as we join the organisation, as we want learning to be an integral part of the daily routine, we discuss the training plan and recommended books for the first few months of work. Evaluation of the onboarding process takes place after the first 2 months. Through a feedback questionnaire, we take the pulse of their integration into the new team and their adjustment to their new role.
In 2022, we organised 10 national team buildings with 266 colleagues from different departments and regions. The 10 team buildings were held with the aim of improving communication between remote colleagues with their counterparts, optimizing operational tasks and working procedures, getting to know colleagues on a more personal level to mitigate conflicts.